Watching the show the first time, I had no idea what would be left for the final episode because so much happened in this one. But there is SO MUCH MORE TO GO!!!!
This episode is a slow build and lead up to the biggest wedding of the season. In Delhi, you have the royals and you have old money and you have new money and you have wealthy bureacrats and you have foreign returned but the real power is the politicians and everyone knows it. And so the season has to end with a political wedding. Last episode it was mentioned in the back ground of scenes, talk about this big wedding they should try to get and that it will be both a wedding and a political alliance. This episode we get more details when they go in for the pitch. They are pitching to an old man politician, with a garlanded photo on the wall (implication of a family with an assassination in the past) and armed guards outside. They aren’t allowed to meet the bride or speak to her, and they are told to avoid marigolds as they are the color used by the ruling party. They are obviously pitching to the Not-Gandhis who represent the not-Congress party. They are sure they won’t get it, but then they get the call after all because Arjun is filing his PIL against 377 and giving very good interviews on TV challenging the ruling party with their old ways of thinking. They want the publicity of hiring the outspoken gay advocate for their wedding. But we won’t get to see that actual wedding until the next episode.
Instead in this episode we have multiple small weddings and one non-wedding. Sobhita and Arjun decide to throw a wedding for the daughter of the chaiwallah at the office. Shashank Arora and Shivani work on a high production music video for the bride of another wedding. And Arjun turns down the offer of his own wedding, or something like it, when his regular American boyfriend surprises him with a visit and asks him to come to America with him. Oh, and I fall in love with Kalki’s therapist. I don’t know if it is good therapy to visibly roll your eyes when your client talks about her married boyfriend who is definitely absolutely going to leave his wife at some point when he feels the time is right, but oh my it is satisfying to watch! Because, NO KALKI! Jim is NOT going to leave his wife! He is going to keep stringing you both along until she leaves him and then he is going to show up at your door and pretend it was his idea all along. And then cheat on you a few years down the line when he gets bored.
This is the episode that, I hope, is Sobhita’s progress towards figuring out what she really wants. Arjun has figured that out, and is so much better for it. If the theme of the show is the lies we tell, the surface that covers the real (just as the pomp of a wedding covers the messy reality of two families coming together), this is the episode where Sobhita begins to reach below her surface and figure out who she is inside and what she really really wants. And where Arjun confirms within himself that he has what he wants, that his life is what he has made it to be. Still haven’t seen the finale, but this episode feels like it is working towards Sobhita making a serious decision about her life.
And meanwhile, there’s Kalki and Jim, seemingly in control, but really the most out of control of all because they don’t know what they want. At the beginning of the series, Sobhita was in the dark and everyone was lying to her and she was lying to herself. Now the tables have turned, it is Kalki who is getting the lies and suffering with them. Jim sets himself up as her savior, makes himself into the one person who believes in her, leaves her cut off from her friends (who all sided with Sobhita) and badmouths her parents, and then cuts her off from himself too. Filmilibrarian said before I even started the show that sometimes it feels like Kalki and Jim are in their own show. In this episode at least, we can see how that is part of Kalki’s character. She is her own show now, because Jim made her that way, cut her off from her best friend, from her family, from everyone except himself and her therapist. Jim is a little more connected because he is connected to Sobhita, and to the company she founded. I am trying really hard not to start thinking about series 2 already, but what I would love to see happen is if Kalki starts working with Sobhita at the company (there have already been seeds planted about how she wants a real job with a paycheck and independence, and how her style sense is what inspired Sobhita), with Jim as the ex-husband and difficult investor.
But we aren’t there yet. Right now, in this episode, we are focused on Sobhita and Arjun and where they are internally as we move into the finale. Arjun is happier than ever before. We saw him with his American boyfriend in one of the first episodes, they were happy together, but Arjun kept a distance from him, avoided anything serious. Now, he has shown up to surprise Arjun because he was worried about him, and Arjun accepts that worry. He doesn’t want to talk about jail (which seems accurate for the PTSD he is working through), but he will relax and confess some of his fears to his boyfriend. He will accept his comforting touch. And when his American boyfriend invites him to come to America with him, he will answer seriously instead of avoiding the topic (as he did the last time we saw this boyfriend and was asked why he never visited him in America), and say that he is from India, and he will stay here. Arjun knows who he is and what he wants and it has brought him a kind of peace within himself that Sobhita is still looking for.
This is kind of an episode of everyone revealing their true selves. Shashank Arora does too. All along he has been kind of on the outside, looking through his camera, asking questions of others but not revealing himself. In this episode, he explodes, at a difficult bride who is insisting on a music video for her wedding. He is defending Shivani, but he reveals his own prejudices too, against the whole wedding industry, against what Made in Heaven is doing. He declares that every bride thinks she is special, but she isn’t. That it is wrong for a father to borrow money for a wedding. And the voice overs in this episode, Shashank’s voice overs that have been there all along, are kind of different. Because this time, what he is saying doesn’t quite match what we are seeing. As he talks about the wrongness of weddings, of it being “the most important day” of a Bride’s life and what her father dreams of, instead of thinking about her whole life, we see the perfect version of a wedding in this episode.
Arjun and Sobhita offer to throw a wedding, at no cost, for the daughter of the chaiwallah at the office. Instead of him worrying about money and over-extending himself, he can just focus on enjoying the day. All the bride wants is a big big wedding cake, like in movies, and they can give her that. The bride and groom are a nicely matched couple that are excited to start a life together. And the wedding is a magical moment when all sins are forgiven, everyone loves everyone else, and happiness and love are everywhere. We see Shashank and Arjun make-up after their fight over Shashank insulting the bride, we see Sobhita and Shivani joyfully dance, we see everyone in the community from children to old people happy together in this moment that has brought them together. This is what weddings are supposed to be, this is what we got a glimpse of in some of the other episodes, the Sikh wedding and Deepti’s wedding, and even some of the moments in the Munglik episode and the dowry episode. Trying to achieve this kind of magic is why Arjun and Sobhita do what they do. Yes, weddings can have a hidden emotional and financial toll. But, they don’t have to. It’s not an innately evil thing, which is how Shashank seems to see it, and it is worth it to try to bring out the best possible version of this day, whether or not you succeed.
And that’s what Sobhita comes to discover about her own life as she works through her feelings in this episode. What she has been through, what she has done, it’s not evil or wrong. She just has to understand what she wanted out of it. Along with seeing the perfect happy wedding, she also gets to see the perfect happy marriage in this episode. She visits her sister’s house, with her nice average husband who remembers to buy fruit on the way home and loves their daughter and loves his wife. A pure give and take of a marriage, the sister saves a little bit of chai aside for him, he brings home groceries for her. When we have seen the sister before, the mother was always present, when they visited the factory opening and embarrassed Sobhita. Or when she went to her niece’s birthday party and gave her gifts that were too expensive. But this time there is no audience, it is just the two of them, and we see both Sobhita and her sister relax and get a glimpse of the life Sobhita could have had. Not just the nice husband bringing home food, but the cozy talks in the kitchen with her sister, the warmth and comfort of this space with people she knows well, where she doesn’t have to pretend to be anything else. This is what Sobhita wants, this is her goal in her marriage and her life, to somehow find this kind of unembarrassed happiness with another person, to be able to be herself with someone.
Again, I can’t help thinking about the next season, I hope more flashbacks reveal more about the triangle of relationships between Sobhita and her mother and her sister. From what we know, it seems possible that her mother is the poisoned apple, who drove a wedge between the sisters with Sobhita as the “pretty” one and her sister as the “plain” one. And in the end, the “plain” one was able to escape to an ordinary happy life, while the “pretty” one was pushed to her limits.
This episode fills in another gap in Sobhita’s origin, how she went from an average girl from a low-income neighborhood to effortlessly fitting into a high class office. She took classes, training classes, on faking your way up in society. How to sit, how to talk, how to sip wine. And she doesn’t turn her back on that, when she returns to the classroom at the end of the episode, it is to accept that this is part of her origin story, and there is nothing to be ashamed about it. Wanting to know how to act, wanting to move into a higher social class, that’s okay, you don’t have to stay where you were born. And reaching that higher class through sleeping with the boss and taking classes, that’s okay too, she doesn’t have to feel ashamed of how she got where she is or ashamed of wanting to be where she is. But, as she says at the end of her speech to the students, it’s important to remember who you are really, underneath it all.
And now we go into the final episode! Which is clearly going to be about this big BIG political wedding we have been primed for, but also I think about Sobhita figuring out what she really wants in life and going for it.